Q: Why do some people prefer money transfer companies over banks?
A: Money transfer services often provide users with better exchange rates and lower fees than they would receive at their bank. These services are also often faster than banks and are optimized for use with mobile devices.
Q: What are the fees for money transfers?
A: The fees—or lack thereof—depend on the money transfer company you use. There isn’t a single fixed transfer fee, rather most companies charge either a flat transfer fee or a small percentage of the amount that you transfer. Other companies don’t charge any fees, rather, they make money by working with the exchange rate differences on currencies. Keep in mind though that even if the company doesn’t charge any fees, if you’re doing a bank to bank transfer, you may be charged processing fees by the bank.
Q: How long do money transfers take to process/get received?
A: The amount of time it takes for a money transfer to reach its destination can depend on a number of factors. If it’s a bank-to-bank transfer, it may take at least one business day to transfer, especially if the banks are in different countries—especially in the developing world, where there can be more delays. Some companies also don’t carry out bank-to-bank transfers on the weekend or on bank holidays. If you’re doing a direct person-to-person digital transfer, some companies can process the transfer instantaneously.
Q: How do companies determine the exchange rate you receive?
A: Money transfer companies determine the exchange rate based on the daily rates given by the foreign exchange market. Users are shown the exchange rate by the transfer company before the transaction goes through, so they have the ability to take their business elsewhere if they don’t like the rate. A number of companies will also allow you to lock in a specific exchange rate for a set period of time, while some also vow to match any exchange rate given by your bank.
Q: Can they work with cryptocurrency?
A: While working with cryptocurrencies is by no means universal in the industry, there is a number of companies that can process blockchain money transfers.
Q: If I’m quoted a good rate, can I lock it in for future use?
A: Many companies allow users to lock in an exchange rate for a future exchange, even for a year or more. These companies do often stipulate that the agreement is final though, so be sure it’s the right rate for you. Look for a time when the currency you’re using—or that you’re paid in—is higher than the one that you’re transferring to.
Q: What are the options for delivery?
A: There are quite a few options for money transfer delivery, and long gone are the days when your only option was your local bank branch. In addition to bank-to-bank transfers, you can do mobile-to-mobile transfers, and a number of companies even operate their own storefronts where you can pick up the money, and even will deliver the funds to a physical address. When it comes to mobile phone top-ups, these can be done directly to the other person’s phone, from anywhere in the world.
Q: Is there a minimum or maximum amount you can transfer?
A: Many money transfer companies will state that they don’t have a minimum or maximum daily transfer, though this isn’t technically true. Typically you can’t transfer less than a dollar and if you try to send $1,000,000, most won’t allow it. For those companies that do have a minimum amount it can usually hover around $100-$200 or so, while the daily maximum can be in the several thousand dollars range, and often less if the transfer is international.
Q: How are the transfers secured?
A: Money transfer companies put in a number of security measures including encryption and cybersecurity tools to keep data and transactions safe. They also take steps to screen the person sending the transfer, and if it’s a bank-to-bank transfer, then the bank’s own security measures should come into play as well. Regardless, when comparing money transfer companies, always take a look at the security measures that the company implements and see if they go the extra mile.
Q: What is a mobile top-up transfer?
A: If someone has a prepaid mobile phone, many transfer companies will allow you to send money to fill up the minutes on the phone (i.e., to “top up” the phone). This is a great way to maintain contact with someone who is overseas and may not be able to afford a cell phone plan or have reliable access to the internet.
Ready to go?
Sending money for business or pleasure can be simple. Consider the transfer times, methods and currencies available for your chosen money transfer company, create an online account (or download the mobile phone app), and click go. If you're ready to compare providers, take a look at the top 10 on our homepage to choose the one that best suits your needs.